Angelina Jolie for St. John
Scandinavia has varying codes of dress for the PhD viva voce, with Hanken in Finland being one of the most formal in terms of ceremonial rites and dress, up to and including how family members should dress and where they should sit during the event i.e. in the front rows of the examination hall. A brief extract from their website, translated from Swedish to English, on dress codes for the viva include:
The respondent chooses how s/he wants to be dressed and the opponent acts accordingly. For men, it is a choice between an evening dress or a dark suit. If tailcoats are chosen, the vests should be in black. In Finland, a PhD public defense is never conducted wearing a blazer or sweater. For women, the basic rule is that the dress or suit should be black. A white blouse and white accessories are fine. If you want to be hyper-correct, then wear only pearls as jewellery: they are white. At some colleges there are “defense caps” to borrow.
Opponent (the opponent) and kustos have their hats with the Act. They wear the hat on the left arm with the emblem facing forward during the entry and put the hat on the table in front of them when seated. The emblen on the hat should face the audience.
The family, friends and colleagues of the family should be slightly dressed-up. The next-of-kin should also be seated at the front of the examination hall. The viva however, is an open event and all who wish to attend can do so, regardless of dress. Acquaintances and those who intend to leave before the viva has finished, should be seated further back in the room, so that they can leave the hall without attracting attention.